CHADRON, Neb. -- What is expected to be one of the highlights of the winter sports season at Chadron State College will take place at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8 in the Chicoine Center, where the Eagles will take on the University of Nebraska-Kearney wrestling team.
             
With seniors filling six of the 10 weight classes, this is expected to be one of Chadron State's strongest teams in at least a decade, possibly longer than that.  The Eagles are 13th in the National Wrestling Coaches Association's rankings released this week.  Kearney is 10th

"Kearney will be a huge test for our program," said CSC Coach Brett Hunter. "They are a very good program and just two years ago were the NCAA II national champions. We are excited about where we are and the opportunity that we'll have Friday night."

The Lopers' strength was shown during the Bob Smith Open Tournament last Saturday at Fort Hays State. Two of their team members won their weight classes and others placed second and third.

At least one of Kearney's winners, Jake Boley at heavyweight, is not the Lopers' No. 1 guy at that class. That individual, according to the new rankings, is Crew Howard, who is rated No. 5, three notches ahead of Chadron State's Mason Watt.

The Eagles are led by Quen Campbell, who is ranked second at 133 pounds after winning the silver medal at that weight at last year's national tournament.  Still No. 1 at 133 is Gavin Quiocho of Glenville State of West Virginia, who edged Campbell 4-3 on riding time in the finals.

Also for the Eagles, Quade Smith is 10th at 125 and Keegan Gehlhausen is seventh at 184.

Kearney's highest rated grapplers are Nick James and Billy Higgins, fourth at 141 and 185 pounds, respectively. Both Jacobi Deal at 174 and Jackson Kinsella at 197 are ninth.